Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Twin Pillars Of The New Nixon

This post was originally published at The New Nixon on Dec. 25, 2008:

In the ongoing Bush vs. Nixon debate, Veteran political reporter Jules Witcover draws a distinction:
[T]hrough it all, Nixon’s image has managed to survive the kind of assault on his intellect to which Bush has had to suffer. Nixon continues to be widely regarded as having had a shrewd political mind, sustained perhaps by the books he wrote on foreign policy in his post-resignation years.
I’ve long believed that the two pillars of the restoration of Richard Nixon’s reputation in history are the recognition of his seriousness of purpose when it came to the pivotal issue of East-West relations and his effectiveness as a wartime commander-in-chief. More than a keen political mind, Mr. Nixon had a reconciling vision that contributed to a reduction in tensions between Moscow and the U.S. as well as the end of the Cold War. As for Vietnam, he and Gen. Creighton Abrams managed to turn a sure loser into a possible winner, and do so against titanic political odds.

By all accounts, “Frost/Nixon” takes Nixon seriously as an intellectual. One down. A few good books on Vietnam will help with the second pillar.

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